Novel Molecular Evidence Related to COVID-19 in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus

Journal of Clinical Medicine
Yu-Huang LiaoYou-Chen Chao


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has rapidly evolved into a global pandemic. The hyperglycemia in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) substantially compromises their innate immune system. SARS-CoV-2 uses human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors to enter the affected cell. Uncontrolled hyperglycemia-induced glycosylation of ACE2 and the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 could facilitate the binding of S protein to ACE2, enabling viral entry. Downregulation of ACE2 activity secondary to SARS-CoV-2 infection, with consequent accumulation of angiotensin II and metabolites, eventually leads to poor outcomes. The altered binding of ACE2 with SARS-CoV-2 and the compromised innate immunity of patients with DM increase their susceptibility to COVID-19; COVID-19 induces pancreatic β-cell injury and poor glycemic control, which further compromises the immune response and aggravates hyperglycemia and COVID-19 progression, forming a vicious cycle. Sequential cleavage of viral S protein by furin and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) triggers viral entry to release the viral genome into the target cell. Hence, TMPRSS2 and furin are possible drug targets. ...Continue Reading


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